By CELA on 19 Jul, 2023

Minister for Education Jason Clare has set out an ambitious reform agenda at his National Press Club speech today, painting education as the great equaliser and the foundation for Australia’s economic success.

Pictured in photo: CELA CEO Michele Carnegie, Minister for Early Childhood Education Hon. Dr Anne Aly MP, CCC Executive Director Julie Price at the National Press Club today.

Why it matters

To prepare for the challenges and opportunities of this century, we need to start with free high quality education and care for all children, from birth to age five. This is the foundation for the modern education system that Australians deserve. By setting children up for success in school and life, we can deliver an economically strong and socially just Australia, now and in the future.

By investing in giving children the best start in life, we also need to invest in our educators and teachers, the predominately female workforce at the heart of the sector. Their contribution has been undervalued for too long. We cannot pay minimum wage and expect to attract early educators who are qualified to deliver the high quality services that children need.

The context

Minister Clare released the Universities Accord Interim Report and made announcements on:

  • establishing up to 20 additional Regional University Study Hubs
  • abolishing the 50 per cent pass rule, introduced as part of the Job-ready Graduates Scheme
  • extending demand driven funding to all First Nations students who are eligible for the course they apply for.

What we are watching

These announcements can help ensure that early education workforce reflects the diversity of their communities. It can also help attract a broader range of teachers and educators to the sector. This combined with other reforms like multi-employer bargaining can help to attract and retain a professional highly trained workforce.

What we are saying:

‘We rejoice in hearing Minister Clare share his vision for the fundamental role that education plays in building a stronger and fairer society, and his recognition of early childhood education as the foundation of this. Recognising the role of early childhood for children’s success is the key to realising the full benefits of these big reforms at all stages of the education journey.’

Michele Carnegie – CEO, CELA

What’s next?

CELA is working hard to bring this vision to life by advocating for universal education and care for all children, supported by a professionally paid highly trained workforce. We are looking forward to the Federal Government providing the same level of ambition and investment in response to Productivity Commission recommendations for the early childhood sector.

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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